Advice from a Crochet Designer
Whether you picked up a crochet hook for the first time this week or have been crocheting for fifty years, we all have made some of the same mistakes. When I substituted yarn for my first crochet sweater, I made the mistake of not checking my yardage math closely. “It’s close enough,” I told myself. Luckily the sweater looked cute with a few stripes in a contrasting color. I got lucky! Now I always double check my yarn amounts.
Crochet designer Peter Franzi shares some of his best advice in the Interweave Crochet Winter 2016 issue.
The More You Know
I’ve made mistakes. I’ll just come out and say that. So, in the interest of helping you to not make the same mistakes I have made, I’ve gathered a few tips to follow before you embark on a big crochet project.
Check (and double-check) how much yarn you’ll need.
There is nothing more frustrating than nearing the end of a project and discovering you will not have enough yarn to ﬁnish. Do your homework and acquire enough yardage to ﬁnish your work. This is especially critical if you are substituting yarn. First, check the gauge on the yarn labels to be sure it’s a comparable yarn. Check the yardage on the substitute yarn and do the math; you may need ten balls instead of eight. Don’t guesstimate; do the math and round up (if the yardage works out to nine and a quarter balls, for instance, get ten).
Get enough yarn in the same dyelot.
Check dyelot numbers on all the yarn labels to make sure you have enough yarn of the same dyelot to complete your project. Even “No Dyelot” yarns need to be checked for lot consistency. If you don’t believe me, ask my brother, who received from me a pullover with one sleeve in a shade that was signiﬁcantly diﬀerent from the rest of the sweater.
Read through the whole pattern first.
Upon beginning to work a new pattern, read through the entire set of instructions to make sure you understand everything you are asked to do. Do not assume anything. I once chose a project that required a crocheted I-cord to be used as a drawstring. How hard could that be? I thought. The rest of the pattern was fairly straightforward, but as it turned out, for the life of me, I couldn’t get my hands to coordinate to make the I-cord. Eventually I found a suitable substitute, after considerable expenditure of time and energy.
— Peter Franzi
This advice is fantastic! I especially love the tip to read through the entire pattern before beginning. Many a confusing instruction has suddenly made sense after reading through the rest of the pattern. I would also recommend just following the pattern when you can’t quite picture a particular stitch pattern. Once when I was working a beautiful faux crochet cable pattern, I read through the pattern four or five times. I just couldn’t imagine how it would work. Finally, I simply worked each stitch individually and told myself not to worry about figuring out how it worked together. After a pattern repeat, everything made complete sense, and the resulting fabric was gorgeous.
You can find more of his fabulous tips and twenty-three incredible crochet patterns to apply them to in Interweave Crochet Winter 2016. Order or download your copy of Interweave Crochet Winter 2016 today!
P.S. Share your best advice for new crocheters in the comments.